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Ann Arbor Catholic priest tells parishioners to pack heat

by Patricia Montemurri via the Detroit Free Press

CTK

An Ann Arbor Catholic priest has urged his parishioners to arm themselves and attend classes at Christ the King parish to earn a concealed pistol license (CPL).

In a letter sent to Christ the King parishioners recently, the Rev. Edward Fride explained why he believed it was necessary to get concealed pistol licenses because of recent crime in the area. During a Palm Sunday mass last month, Fride announced that the parish would be holding the CPL class.

When some parishioners questioned the decision, Fride sent out a pro-gun letter titled “We’re not in Mayberry Anymore, Toto” – a reference to the 1960s-era Andy Griffith Show and its portrayal of a fictional North Carolina town, as well as Dorothy’s dog from the Wizard of Oz.

“It is very common for Christians to simply assume that they live in Mayberry, trusting that because they know the Lord Jesus, everything will always be fine and nothing bad can happen to them and their families,” Fride wrote.

“How to balance faith, reality, prudence, and trust is one of those critical questions that we struggle with all our lives. Pretending we are in Mayberry, while we are clearly not, can have very negative consequences for ourselves and those we love, especially those we have a responsibility to protect. If we are not in Mayberry, is there a real threat?”

Fride told parishioners in the letter that Catholic teachings do not preclude carrying a gun for self-defense and to defend others. Fride then asserted that crime is up and that because of budget cuts, “there has been a significant reduction in the availability of an armed police response.”

Fride could not be reached for comment Monday. But Michael Diebold, a spokesman for the Diocese of Lansing which oversees the Ann Arbor parish, confirmed Monday that the controversial letter had been sent.

“Yes, it appears that ‘We’re Not in Mayberry Anymore, Toto!’ was sent out to the parishioners of Christ the King by their pastor, Fr. Ed Fride,” Diebold wrote in an email to the Free Press.

Guns and gun lessons do not belong in a Catholic church, Lansing Catholic Bishop Earl Boyea stressed in a statement after they learned about Fride’s letter from the Free Press.

Boyea “has never given permission for anyone to carry a concealed weapon in a church or school in the Diocese of Lansing,” said a statement released by Diebold.

“Additionally, Bishop Boyea further states that Concealed Pistol License classes are inappropriate activities to be held on Church property,” wrote Diebold.

Diebold said the Lansing diocese’s ban on weapons on church makes them “gun-free zones” and extends to those who want to practice “open carry” of weapons in full view. He added that public or professional security “provide for public safety on church property.”

Diebold referred to a 2012 statement by the Lansing bishop.

“We are followers of Jesus Christ, who raised not a hand against those who mocked, tortured, and finally murdered him,” Boyea said in 2012. ” While we grasp both the Second Amendment and the legitimate right of some persons to defend themselves, our churches and our schools are dedicated to a far different approach to life’s problems.”

In the Mayberry letter, Fride wrote that he was worried about students at nearby Father Gabriel Richard High School in Ann Arbor, and pointed to a recent incident near the school.

“The fact that two active shooters got within yards of Father Gabriel Richard before they were taken down by SWAT demonstrates that the threat is real. This druggie couple from Detroit stole a car and it broke down at Plymouth and Dixboro. They went through the woods and had almost reached the high school when they were stopped,” wrote Fride.

“There is zero security at the high school. Had the shooters got in, we would have had our own Columbine,” wrote Fride, a reference to the shooting massacre at a Colorado high school in 1999.

A CPL class was held at the church recently by a suburban Detroit police officer, Fride wrote in the letter. Fride said the officer told parishioners “that because more Detroiters are protecting themselves, more of the criminals are now targeting the suburbs…”

“That same officer from the CPL class personally thanked me for having the parish do this class and expressed a hope that more would follow suit, because having law abiding citizens armed makes their job as police so much better,” Fride wrote in the letter.

Fride said some parishioners told him they were afraid of carrying weapons.

“Several people have said to me, I’m afraid of guns. My response to one woman was, ‘Well, how do you feel about rape?” wrote Fride.

Fride’s friend, Jay McNally, said the priest is a beloved pastor, a martial arts practitioner whose sermons bring parishioners to tears.

“It is a rare day that one finds a priest so well-loved by parishioners at every level – the old folks, the young folks,” said McNally, a former editor of the Detroit archdiocese’s Michigan Catholic newspaper and conservative Catholic activist who is the director of the Ypsilanti-based Citizens Alliance for Life and Liberty.

McNally said Fride has served at the parish for about 20 years, and also was the chaplain for young men considering the priesthood at Ave Maria College, when the college started by Domino’s Pizza founder and traditional Catholic activist Tom Monaghan was located in Ann Arbor. Christ the King Parish has strong ties to traditional, conservative Catholics.

“He’s a priest factory,” said McNally, describing Fride’s service as an inspiration to many young men considering the priesthood.

“Father Ed quite frequently travels around the country and to be the chaplain for people in the military who die in service,” said McNally. “He’s in high demand for that.”

“This whole gun thing is kind of new. He has become very vocal about it,” said McNally. “There isn’t a phony bone in him.

In his letter, Fride explained how he grew up a Pacifist and was a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War. He converted to Catholicism. He wrote that he veered away from pacifism when he asked himself questions of “what would Jesus do” were he to come across women and children being harmed.

“I eventually concluded that I was certainly no longer a pacifist absolutist,” wrote Fride. “There were situations in which I would actively intervene, even to a lethal level if necessary.”

Contact Patricia Montemurri: 313-223-4538, [email protected] or on Twitter @pmontemurri

Guns in Diocese of Lansing Churches and Schools

Statement from the Diocese of Lansing regarding guns in churches and schools via DioceseofLansing.org:

The Bishops of Michigan have weighed in on this topic numerous times, most recently in December 2012, saying: “Churches are meant to be a place of sanctuary for worshippers to gather in peace, free of the threat of gun violence.”

Bishop Boyea himself said in 2012, “At the core of our mission is service to the most vulnerable persons in society. Many have already been wounded in body or mind by the American epidemic of violence. Fragile people come to us for help every day, and it is essential that our sites be refuges — places of peace in every sense. We are followers of Jesus Christ, who raised not a hand against those who mocked, tortured, and finally murdered him. While we grasp both the Second Amendment and the legitimate right of some persons to defend themselves, our churches and our schools are dedicated to a far different approach to life’s problems.

Flowing from this, Bishop Boyea has never given permission for anyone to carry a concealed weapon in a church or school of the Diocese of Lansing.

This ban on weapons has now been extended to “open carry” in our churches and our schools, thus making them gun-free zones.

Additionally, Bishop Boyea further states that Concealed Pistol License classes are inappropriate activities to be held on Church property.

As always we rely on the public or professional security forces to provide for public safety on Church property.

Kresta in the Afternoon – April 21, 2015

Talking about the “Things That Matter Most” on April 21, 2015


4:00-6:00 – Direct to My Desk: What does a parish do when a greatly beloved pastor over-reaches in trying to protect the innocent and finds himself at odds with his bishop? The case of Christ the King, Fr. Ed Fride and the Bishops of Michigan

Christ the King, an Ann Arbor parish, is getting international attention for a debate over firearms. The church’s pastor, Fr. Ed Fride, recently announced that Concealed Pistol License classes would take place on church property. He encouraged parishioners to participate, citing a host of reasons. Fr. Fride also sent parishioners a lengthy and controversial letter explaining his concerns. Since the announcement, Lansing Bishop Earl Boyea has restated the diocese’s longstanding policy against carrying firearms on church property and the classes have been relocated. But not before the secular press seized on the story and many parishioners responded with moral indignation and threats of leaving. Oh, it’s also Al’s and Nick’s home parish. Benedict XVI called for the laity to accept co-responsibility for the Church. What does that mean in this case? What should the parish do when their beloved pastor makes a well-intentioned error and finds himself at odds with his bishop? We’ll discuss it. Call us at 877-573-7825.

Vatican Archives Shed Light on Holy See’s Activity During the Armenian Genocide

by Andrea Gagliarducci/CNA/EWTN News via NCRegister.com

VATICAN CITY — Ahead of Pope Francis’ Mass commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide, newly released historic documents confirm the Holy See’s broad commitment to helping the Armenian people at a time when few others would.

Armenians are marched to a nearby prison in Mezireh by armed Turkish soldiers. Kharpert, Armenia, Ottoman Empire, April, 1915 – Wikipedia/public domain

Armenians are marched to a nearby prison in Mezireh by armed Turkish soldiers. Kharpert, Armenia, Ottoman Empire, April, 1915
– Wikipedia/public domain

The Italian Jesuit-run magazine La Civiltà Cattolica stressed that newly published documents “prove how the Holy See, always informed about events, had not remained passive, but was strongly committed to face the issue” of the Armenian Genocide. “Benedict XV was the only ruler or religious leader to voice out a protest against the ‘massive crime.’”

The Armenian Genocide is considered to have begun on April 24, 1915, with a massacre of Armenians in Istanbul. Over the next eight years, 1.5 million Armenians would be killed and millions more displaced.

However, such killings were perpetrated before, when much of the region was still under Ottoman rule.

For instance, a March 27, 1896, letter by Franciscan Father Domenico Werson, who was serving as a missionary in Aleppo, recounted the massacre of Christians in Marasc and its vicinities.

Most of the documents in the newly published series are from the archive of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches. They have been published in a series of four books by Jesuit priest Father Georges-Henry Ruyssen. In advance of the series’ March 21 release date, the latest edition of La Civiltà Cattolica published a summary.

The documents on the “Armenian Question” date from the end of the 19th century to the first half of the 20th century.

The collection of documents includes letters from popes and to Ottoman sultans; documents and dispatches by Vatican secretaries of state and prefects or secretaries of other Vatican dicasteries; documents and reports by the apostolic delegates; and letters by Armenian patriarchs and bishops with firsthand information.

There are also reports by eye witnesses.

The documents note the actions of Pope Benedict XV, who sent two personal letters to Sultan Muhammad V Reshad on Sep. 10, 1915, and March 12, 1918, respectively.

The pope’s effort was the climax of several attempts at mediation carried forward by the Holy See to help Armenians. Pope Leo XIII tried a mediation beginning in 1859. The Holy See sought to be a mediator with Djemal Pashà, commander of the Turkish army in Syria, for the freedom of 60 Armenians sentenced to death in 1917. Cardinal Pietro Gasparri, the Vatican secretary of state, mediated with Mustaphà Kemal Pashà in 1921 for the safeguard of the lives and the goods of surviving Christians in Turkey.

The Holy See did not only work in diplomacy, but also sought to assist surviving refugees.

The Holy See, La Civiltà Cattolica wrote, “mobilized a continual flow of financial aid and supplies in an era when there were no other international humanitarian organizations beyond the Red Cross and the Near East relief [organization].”

The Holy See especially assisted orphans and founded “many orphanages” open to people of every religious confession. Young orphan Armenian girls were also hosted in the orphanage in the apostolic palace of Castel Gandolfo, near Rome.

The documents record the reasons why countries did not take any stance on the genocide and did not defend the Armenian people when the first signs of genocide were visible.

On the eve of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide, the publication of these documents may shed light on the reasons why this genocide was perpetrated in the midst of a general political indifference.

As for Pope Francis, he will celebrate a Mass marking the centenary of the genocide in St. Peter Basilica on April 24.

La Civiltà Cattolica underscored that, in the late 19th century, the question of the future of the Armenians “was forgotten step by step,” because the “gradual passivity of European diplomacy” worked to “preserve at every cost the integrity of the Ottoman Empire.”

Archbishop Augusto Bonetti, the apostolic delegate to Constantinople from 1887-1904, summarized the international situation.

France and Russia both aimed to preserve “the integrity of Turkey.” France had made major capital investments in the region, while Russia wanted Turkish relations to be dormant so it could focus on the Far East.

In Archbishop Bonetti’s view, Germany had a material interest in the continuation of the war between the Greeks and the Turks, while England had “important political interests in Turkey.”

US anger over IS ‘atrocity’ against Christians in Libya

via News.Yahoo.com

ISISIS

 

Tripoli (AFP) – The United States condemned the “brutal mass murder” of 30 Ethiopian Christians in Libya following a video released by Islamic State militants purportedly showing their execution.

The 29-minute IS video appears to show militants holding two groups of captives, described in text captions as “followers of the cross from the enemy Ethiopian Church”.

National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan decried the killings and called for stability in Libya, which has been mired in political chaos and unrest since the 2011 uprising that toppled former strongman Moamer Kadhafi.

“The United States condemns in the strongest terms the brutal mass murder purportedly of Ethiopian Christians by ISIL-affiliated terrorists in Libya,” she said, using another name for IS.

“This atrocity once again underscores the urgent need for a political resolution to the conflict in Libya to empower a unified Libyan rejection of terrorist groups.”

Ethiopia said its embassy in Egypt was trying to verify the video to ascertain if those murdered were indeed its nationals.

The video portrays a masked fighter in black brandishing a pistol, who makes a statement threatening Christians if they do not convert to Islam.

The video then switches between footage of one group of about 12 men being beheaded by masked militants on a beach, and another group of at least 16 being shot in the head in a desert area.

It was not immediately clear who the captives were or how many were killed.

Before the killings, the video shows purported footage of Christians in Syria, saying they had been given the choice of converting to Islam or paying a special tax, and had decided to pay.

The video bore the logo of the IS media arm and was similar to past footage released by the jihadists, including of 21 Coptic Christians beheaded on a Libyan beach in February. Several Libyan jihadist groups have pledged allegiance to IS.

Addis Ababa says IS, which has seized chunks of Syria and Iraq and won the support of jihadist groups across the region, has also gained a foothold in Ethiopia.

“There are elements of IS around Ethiopia who are already carrying out operations, even though under a different name,” said Redwan, referring to the Shebab group.

“We will keep on fighting them.”

Since the 2011 revolt, Libya has been awash with weapons, has rival governments and parliaments, and is on the edge of all-out civil war as armed groups battle to control its cities and oil wealth.

Officials have repeatedly warned that Libya could become a jihadist haven on Europe’s doorstep unless the violence stops and a national unity government is formed.

And waves of would-be immigrants including Ethiopians have been using Libya as a stepping stone to embark on perilous sea crossings to Europe. More than 700 people are feared drowned in the latest disaster.

On Sunday, UN envoy Bernardino Leon said after weeks of brokering talks between rival Libyan factions that they had reached a draft accord which is “very close to a final agreement”.

Speaking to reporters in Morocco, Leon also said preparations were under way for armed groups to hold direct talks to end the conflict.

Referring to the IS video and fighting in Libya, Leon said: “We know that the enemies of peace, the enemies of the agreement, will be active and be even more active in the coming days and weeks.”

The IS execution of Copts in February prompted retaliatory air strikes from Egypt, with President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi pushing for the creation of a joint Arab military force to battle jihadists.

Arab military chiefs will meet on Wednesday in Cairo to discuss how the force will be created, its role and financing, an Arab League official said.

A US-led coalition of Western and Arab nations is already waging an air war against IS in Syria and Iraq.

IS has carried out atrocities against minorities — including Christians and Yazidis — sparking fears for the fate of vulnerable communities in mostly Muslim nations.

Christians Accept Execution Rather Than Islam

by Raymond Ibrahim via RaymondIbrahim.com

Approximately two months after the Islamic State (IS) published a video depicting its members slaughtering 21 Coptic Christians in Libya, on Sunday, April 19,  the Islamic jihadi organization released another video of more Christians in Libya being massacred, this time for not paying jizya—extortion money demanded of the “People of the Book” according to Koran 9:29.

ISIS

 

Two scenes appear in the 29-minute-long video published by al-Furqan, the Islamic State’s media wing.  The first scene consists of a group of Christian Ethiopians dressed all in black, on their knees, with their arms tied behind their backs.  Masked IS members stand behind the Ethiopians with rifles aimed at their heads.  According to the video, this scene takes place in the city of Fezzan.  The Christian captives are called “Worshippers of the cross belonging to the hostile Ethiopian Church.”

The second scene shows more Christian Ethiopians dressed in orange uniforms and standing on the shores of Barqa, the same region where 21 Egyptian Christians were earlier decapitated for refusing to convert to Islam.

Other scenes include the narrator referencing the fatwas of medieval jurist Ibn Taymiyya that proclaim all Christians “infidels.”  Then Abu Malik ibn Ans al-Nashwan, apparently one of the group’s leaders, appears saying that “The dealings of the Islamic State with Christians under its authority is according to Allah’s Sharia [Islamic law].   Jizya [tribute] is imposed on those who accept, and war on those who resist.”

The final scene is of the Christians in Fezzan being executed by gunfire to the back of their heads and the Christians in Barqa all having their heads carved off.

It is likely that the reason these Christians “resisted” to pay jizya was that they did not have the money—migrant Christian workers in Libya, whether from Egypt or Ethiopia, are about as poor as they get.

And they refused the only other option that could have spared their lives according to Islamic law—renunciation of the Christian Trinity and conversion to Islam.

The narrator continued by saying that IS had “invited” the Christians of Raqqa, Syria to enter Islam, but they refused.   So IS demanded of them payment of jizya and they complied and were permitted to live.  Next follows a scene depicting Christians in Raqqa—according to the video’s claims—saying how “peaceful” life is under the Islamic State, and that the caliphate does not compel them to do anything except pay jizya.

Whether scripted or not—and odds are on the former—these supposedly “content” Christians are hardly representative of the overwhelming majority of Christians in territories annexed by the Islamic State.

In the summer of 2014, IS issued a statement concerning Christian minorities, saying “We offer them three choices: Islam; the dhimma contract—involving payment of jizya; if they refuse this they will have nothing but the sword.”  Hours after this ultimatum was proclaimed, the jihadis began painting the letter “n” on Christian homes in Mosul—in Arabic, Christians are known as “Nasara,” or “Nazarenes”—signaling them out for the slaughter to come and prompting a mass exodus of Christians from the region.  Many older and disabled Iraqi Christians, unable to pay the jizya or join the exodus, opted to convert to Islam.

In one instance, three Islamic State members burst into the home of a Christian family, demanding jizya.  When the father of the house pleaded that he did not have the money, the intruders raped his wife and daughter in front of him. The man was reportedly so traumatized that he committed suicide.

The new video of the executed Ethiopians shows other scenes and cities under the Islamic State’s jurisdiction, including pictures of churches in Ninevah and Mosul being destroyed purportedly because Christians there did—or could—not pay jizya.

At one point, the same masked narrator appears speaking about the “battle between truth and falsehood”—a reference to Islam’s dichotomized worldview, which certainly did not originate with “ISIS.”   For example, during an interview conducted one decade ago, when asked about the status of Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar, al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiriresponded:

Jihad in the path of Allah is greater than any individual or organization. It is a struggle between Truth and Falsehood, until Allah Almighty inherits the earth and those who live in it. Mullah Muhammad Omar and Sheikh Osama bin Laden—may Allah protect them from all evil—are merely two soldiers of Islam in the journey of jihad, while the struggle between Truth [Islam] and Falsehood [non-Islam] transcends time (The Al Qaeda Reader, p.182).

This statement best encapsulates why the slaughter of Christians and other “infidels” will continue—regardless of whether we call the jihad “al-Qaeda,” “ISIS,” “Boko Haram,” “Al Shabaab,” or “Lone Wolf.”  Jihadi leaders, ideologues, emirs, sultans, caliphs, even the prophet of Islam himself, have come and gone for nearly 1,400 years—but the jihad rages on.

And, lest Western readers in general, Christians in particular, think this is just happening “over there,” the same narrator, speaking to the West in general, also said—right before the slaughtered and decapitated bodies of the Ethiopian Christians were shown—that “you won’t have safety, even in your dreams, until you embrace Islam.”

ISIS executes more Christians in Libya, video shows

By Eliott C. McLaughlin via CNN.com

CNN)ISIS operatives have executed two groups of prisoners, believed to be Ethiopian Christians, in Libya, according to a video released Sunday by the terror network’s media arm.

The al-Furqan Media video — which is highly produced and titled “Until There Came to Them Clear Evidence” — shows two groups of men, one in orange jumpsuits and the other in black, being killed at different locations in Libya, according to the video’s narrator.

One group is beheaded on a beach along the Mediterranean Sea, while the other group is shot in Southern Libya, hundreds of miles away.

“All praise be to Allah, the Lord and cherisher of the world and may peace and blessings be upon the Prophet Mohammed. To the nation of the cross, we are back again on the sands, where the companions of the Prophet, peace be upon him, have stepped on before, telling you: Muslim blood that was shed under the hands of your religion is not cheap,” the narrator says in Arabic on the 39-minute video.

A video released by ISIS claims to show two groups of men being killed in Libya.

The narrator continues, “In fact, their blood is the purest blood because there is a nation behind them (which) inherits revenge. And we swear to Allah: the one who disgraced you by our hands, you will not have safety, even in your dreams, until you embrace Islam.”

Quoting Mohammed, the narrator says that those who “perform prayer and pay alms” will have “their blood and property” protected by the Prophet unless Islam dictates otherwise.

“You pay (tax) with willing submission, feeling yourselves subdued. Our battle is a battle between faith and blasphemy, between truth and falsehood, until there is no more polytheism — and obedience becomes Allah’s on its entirety,” the narrator says.

Earlier in the video, a different speaker says Christians in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul were given the choice to embrace Islam or maintain their Christian faith and pay a tax.

“The Islamic state has offered the Christian community this many times and set a deadline for this, but the Christians never cooperated,” the speaker says.

ISIS posts video of purported mass beheading

At the beginning of the video, a man who appears to be a judge in a court enforcing Islam’s Sharia law holds up documents and says a Syrian Christian had owed a Syrian Muslim 550,000 Syrian pounds (about $2,900) since 2004, but the Muslim was unable to obtain the money under President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

“After applying to the Islamic court he got his money back within one month,” the man says.

The law cited throughout the video comes from the Quran’s Surah 9:29, whose exact translation is an area of dispute among religious scholars. The gist is that Muslims are commanded to fight those who don’t believe in Allah or the Last Day (Islam’s equivalent of Judgment Day) unless the nonbelievers pay a tax or tribute.

In February, ISIS released a video of 21 Coptic Christians from Egypt being executed on a Libyan beach. Those captives, too, wore orange jumpsuits.

In that video, released by al-Hayat Media Center, another ISIS media arm, a masked man references the killing of Osama bin Laden and his burial at sea.

“The sea you have hidden Sheikh Osama bin Laden’s body in, we swear to Allah, we will mix it with your blood,” he threatens in English.

A lesson to be learned by all from the Armenian Genocide

by Robert Kachadourian via TheOaklandPress.com

The Armenian Genocide Centennial is compelling evidence that humanity hasn’t learned very much in the previous millennia of its existence.

The genocide in the Middle East we currently see so vividly portrayed in our living rooms perpetrated by evil incarnate, unfortunately isn’t a new manifestation.

The last century has been called the bloodiest in the history of mankind. The Armenian Genocide was the beginning of those events — and was a precursor to those devastating occurrences that followed.

The Centennial Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide this year marks the carnage that resulted in slaughter of 1.5 million Armenians. Another 500,000 were orphaned.

The Armenian Genocide took place because of man’s inhumanity to man, indifference and the world’s very short collective memory.

Most of us read history in a vacuum and really think we aren’t affected by events that take place thousands of miles away. We also feel events that occurred years ago are far removed from us.

As we are already midway in the second decade of the 21st century, the events that affect us aren’t “over there”. The world has come into our living rooms through the communications explosion that has jettisoned us into the age of super telecommunications. Cyberspace has turned outer space into an obtainable dimension.

The Armenian Genocide was a wake-up call no one woke up to! The Jewish Holocaust wouldn’t have occurred if the Armenian Genocide had been recognized as an event that needed world attention.

When Hitler in 1939 was commenting about the carnage he was to lead the world to as he prepared for World War II, he was asked about his policies of extermination.

His answer was, “Who today remembers what happened to the Armenians”?. The die was cast.

Indeed no one really remembered enough to do anything about it. However, there were many future Nazis who were soldiers in the German Army in Ottoman Turkey during WWI who knew.

Rudolph Hoess, the commandant of Auschwitz, and many of Hitler’s henchmen, saw what happened to the Armenians. It was genocide in its totality.

Based on the lack of ultimate concern by any entity who could make a difference, 1.5 million Armenians were slaughtered, half a million were orphaned and the remnant were scattered to the four corners of the world.

What’s our response today? Genocide still continues. Sometimes it’s called ethnic cleansing. The results are the same.

The epic motion picture story of “Schinder’s List” captures the appropriate response. This award-winning masterpiece is the saga of what one individual did to save many hundreds from the Holocaust.

Oskar Schindler was an entrepreneur in occupied Poland who saw that the Jewish laborers he was using would eventually be sent to death camps.

He constantly created a list stating that he needed these people for the war effort. Thus, his response when he saw the need was responsible for saving several thousand lives.

“Schindler’s List” gave the appropriate response of “Never Again”. It’s screenplay was written by Steve Zaillian. Zaillian stated he drew upon the experience of his own Armenian background to compose such an outstanding drama depiction of the Holocaust.

The irony is that a person writing about the Holocaust drew from his grandparents experience in the Armenian Genocide. Was a thread of commonality there?

After 100 years, there’s a message here. People collectively at sometime, some how and some where must say unequivocally “Never Again”

So far we have failed. Current events are a stark reminder of this. Therefore, as you view programs, events and general references to the Genocide made in our area for this Centennial Year Commemoration, remember not to forget.

Indeed the “Forget Me Not” flower is the symbol of all the ceremonies. That says it all.

The “Forget Me Not” flower in reality must be thought of as having two parts. The first part states that we should never forget the Genocide. The second portion should elicit the response “Never Again”.

Genocide, Holocaust and other like manifestations must be eradicated from civilization’s vocabulary. Indeed there can be no civilized society if the barbarous acts referenced are present whatsoever.

The Armenian Genocide began 100 years ago. May it be said us that a century later marked the beginning of the end of such useless atrocities. In the meantime, “Forget Me Not”. That’s a beginning.

Robert Kachadourian of Bloomfield Hills is an area resident media consultant. He hosts ‘FYI’ which can be viewed in southeast Michigan.

Who really won? The sisters or the Vatican?

One of my first interviews with the late Cardinal Francis George who left this world last week, contained a memorable phrase. Let me paraphrase this moment in the conversation. When I asked about how polarized American Catholics had become, he replied in effect, This is a problem of importing political language into the family of God. We are not liberal or conservative we are Catholic. Then the tip of the spear: “The Catholic Faith is not liberal or conservative- it is true.”

The failure of almost all secular and many religious journalists to grasp this point leads them to write misleading, distorted stories. If you are wearing lenses that only see black and white, you will miss all the colors in the world. The most recent example comes from the coverage of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith’s (CDF) report on their evaluation of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR). Almost all the coverage framed it in terms of a battle between hardened doctrinal authorities who were all crusty male members of the hierarchy versus the soft, servants of the people who were all properly assertive female sisters who only wanted to be treated like women instead of girls. Ugh. Just read the stories from the AP or New York Times.

Ann Carey is the author of Sisters in Crisis and has been studying the evolution of American female religious for decades. I know of no one better equipped to handle this topic with a keen eye, a sharp mind and a Catholic heart. She’s also a good writer.

- Al Kresta

Who really won? The sisters or the Vatican?

The various “LCWR vs. The Vatican” news stories have misunderstood or misrepresented many of the basic facts

 by Ann Carey via CatholicWorldReport.com
3819francislcwr_00000003192

A French journalist I know called me for help on an article she was writing about the reform plan for the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) accepted April 16 by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).

She said she was confused by all the articles on the topic in the U.S. press and wanted to ask me “Who really won? The sisters or the Vatican?”

At first I was stunned by this win-lose terminology, and I wondered why she would have considered the doctrinal reform of a canonically-erected entity to be a conflict of some kind, with the outcome producing a winner and a loser.

My own impression of the outcome was that everyone won because the CDF had helped the LCWR to be a better organization for sisters by refocusing its role to be “centered on Jesus Christ and faithful to the teachings of the Church,” according to the final report.

Then I took time to read several media stories on the topic and discovered that some of the articles made it sound as if the CDF’s reform of the LCWR indeed was adversarial, akin to “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral” or a new “Star Wars” sequel.

Consider, for example, this headline from the April 16 New York Times: “Vatican Ends Battle With U.S. Catholic Nuns’ Group.” Writer Laurie Goodstein then went on to use such inflammatory language as “confrontation,” “vexing and unjust inquisition” and “standoff.”

Several other articles used similar language, saying the reform effort was a “takeover” of the group, and some simply declared that the sisters had won a battle with the Vatican. Miriam Krule writing for Slate called the reform agreement a “victory and vindication for LCWR.”

Religion News Service even assigned a score to the CDF reform of LCWR in its headline “Nuns 1, Cardinal Müller 0.”

It seems as if some writers simply shaped the outcome to reflect their own hopes and expectations. No wonder my French friend was confused.

Adding to her confusion were articles that contained downright incorrect information on the topic, making me wonder if the writers had actually read the CDF-LCWR joint final report. Perhaps accurate research is just not their thing.

For example, several articles reported that the reform was ended “abruptly” or “early,” an indication that the Holy See just wanted to be done with the matter. “The review was supposed to run until 2017,” declared the April 16 International Business Times. The Associated Press and Jesuit Father James Martin writing atAmerica made the same claim, while St. Louis Public Radio insisted the reform “was set up as a four-year investigation.”

Had those writers done their homework and actually read the CDF 2012 mandate, they would have seen this sentence: “The mandate of the Delegate will be for a period of up to five years, as deemed necessary” (emphasis added). Thus, if the LCWR had accepted the reforms readily, the process could have been concluded in weeks instead of years. The five-year time frame was set to avoid endless dialogue, a method of dealing with church officials that LCWR officials have used for years.

It should be noted that most of the articles criticizing the reform never bothered to quote at length the joint CDF-LCWR final report or accompanying press release. To do so would have disproven many of their claims, so some writers simply cherry-picked or distorted passages or used partial quotes to convey a meaning quite opposite the speaker’s intention.

For example, Elizabeth Whitman writing for the International Business Timesglibly reported that CDF Prefect, Cardinal Gerhard Müller said his office was “confident that LCWR has made clear its mission to support its member institutes.” The writer left off the rest of the prefect’s sentence and paragraph, which continued: “by fostering a vision of religious life that is centered on the Person of Jesus Christ and is rooted in the Tradition of the Church. It is this vision that makes religious women and men radical witnesses to the Gospel, and, therefore, is essential for the flourishing of religious life in the Church.”

Over at Religion News Service, writer David Gibson creatively selected the prefect’s above words to praise the LCWR: “Mueller said he was confident that the mission of the nuns ‘is rooted in the Tradition of the Church’ and that they are ‘essential for the flourishing of religious life in the Church.’”

If I were still an English teacher, I would have Gibson diagram the prefect’s sentences so that he could see the cardinal said it is the proper vision of religious life that is rooted in the tradition of the church—not the LCWR mission—and it is that proper vision which is essential for the flourishing of religious life—not the LCWR sisters.

Adding to the misinformation is the creative speculation about the role of Pope Francis in bringing the LCWR reform to a conclusion, with several writers proclaiming that his emphasis on mercy precludes any correction of dissent. TheNew York Times article declared that “Francis has shown in his two-year papacy that he is less interested in having the church police doctrinal boundaries than in demonstrating mercy and love for the poor and vulnerable.”

I didn’t know that doctrinal integrity was incompatible with mercy and love, and I don’t think Pope Francis believes this either, for he has stood strong on doctrinal matters while modeling mercy and love.

It also is amusing to read the speculation about the LCWR audience with Pope Francis, for the Vatican has issued no information about what was discussed, and the LCWR news release about the meeting does not even mention the CDF reform of the organization. Rather, the LCWR reported that the papal audience “centered on Evangelii gaudium, the pope’s apostolic exhortation.”

Yet, some writers speculated that the pope had apologized to the LCWR at the audience. The New York Times quoted theologian Eileen Burke-Sullivan saying the papal audience was “about as close to an apology, I would think, as the Catholic Church is officially going to render.”

If Ms. Burke-Sullivan had been paying attention, she would have known that the LCWR had asked Pope Francis for an audience during the reform process, and some sisters had not been shy about expressing their hope the new pope would reverse the decision of his predecessor to approve the CDF reform.

Mark Silk, also writing for Religion News Service in a blog strangely titled “Spiritual Politics” got the quote right, but characterized it this way: “Müller purred his approval.” Silk went on to write it is “perhaps significant” that the cardinal’s address from last year telling the LCWR leaders to heed the reform “is no longer to be found on the CDF website,” and he provided an erroneous link to prove his point.

I hope Prof. Silk won’t be too embarrassed to learn that Cardinal Müller’s full address is still on the Vatican website here, and there is no evidence that he has backed away from what he told the LCWR in 2014: “The LCWR, as a canonical entity dependent on the Holy See, has a profound obligation to the promotion of that faith as the essential foundation of religious life.”

However, Francis had told the CDF to continue the reform, and he did not grant an audience with LCWR until an hour or so after the CDF accepted the terms of the LCWR reform. If Pope Francis had not approved the LCWR reform, he could have stopped it the day he was elected.

I think the confusion of my French journalist friend can be cleared up simply by carefully reading the primary documents involved—the CDF-LCWR joint final report and its accompanying press release, and the 2012 CDF mandate of reform.

It’s too bad so many journalists in this country did not do so before writing their articles.

Kresta in the Afternoon – April 20, 2015

Talking about the “Things That Matter Most” on April 20, 2015


4:00 – The Catholic Church and the Armenian Genocide

We’re looking into the history of the Armenian Genocide and the role the Catholic Church played in resisting the evil. Our guests are Richard Norsigian, Bob Kachadourian and Hayg Oshagan, who are working to ensure that the horrors of the genocide are never forgotten and never repeated.

5:00 – Kresta Comments: The Legacy of Francis Cardinal George

Francis Cardinal George, the longtime Archbishop of Chicago, passed away last week after a long battle with cancer. Al looks back on the life and legacy of a hero of the Catholic Church in America.

5:20 – Déjà Vu: ISIS Releases Video of Christian Executions

ISIS has released another video depicting the execution of Christians. This time the 30 martyrs are from Ethiopia. Raymond Ibrahim joins us to discuss this latest atrocity and the ongoing attacks on Christians by Muslim extremists.

5:40 – Kresta Comments: TBA

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